Now you might think that penguins, famous inhabitants of cold and snowy Antarctica, would not be one’s first idea of subjects for a summer LEGO diorama. But I’ve seen Surf’s Up, as I presume Ian Hou (DOGOD Brick Design) has, so this scene of a penguin family at the beach is not so far from the truth. I’m in love with their penguin design! They look very happy to be beside the seaside, each with an individual accessory to give them that extra dose of personality. And speaking of love — well, it seems one of those crabs in the foreground might have found a bit of holiday romance on their beach vacation!
I’ll just come out and say the LEGO Botanicals line is the best line to come out in recent history. Each is a refreshing and visually compelling break from the norm and that’s a flowery hill I’m willing to die on. I’ll even fight you freaks who think otherwise. Wow, that escalated fast! Anyway, Ian Hou probably knows what I mean as evidenced by this lovely owl. It repurposes several flowers from at least two copies of the new Wildflower Bouquet set. In the wings, I’m also seeing leaves from the Bird of Paradise set and I’d wager much of the brown tree branch comes from the Bonsai Tree from 2020. Not in the mood to get into fisticuffs over it? Yeah, neither am I. So instead let’s leisurely peruse through our Ian Hou archives to see the decidedly tranquil stuff he likes to build.
I’ll share a fun fact with you. Most of my LEGO collection is relegated to my LEGO room downstairs under the guise that– no one wants to see your Star Wars spaceships or whatever. However, some of the few LEGO sets that have made it to the main floor (you know, where nice civilized people hang out) are from the Botanical line. Famed builder Ian Hou has used parts from that botanical line to create this lovely ornate jewelry box. I’m in awe of the flowery filigree adorning this creation. While my LEGO room is admitttedly cluttered with paraphenelia too lowbrow for polite company, this box just might be fine enough to occupy one of the upper floor bedrooms (gasp!) in which no LEGO currently resides.
The Majestic Tiger set has been a quick favorite amongst LEGO fans since it was released this year. Aptly, this Chinese New Year will mark the Year of the Tiger within the Chinese calendar and Builder Ian Hou is ready to celebrate. Just like last year, Ian brings us the coming Zodiac animal in brick form with a fantastic level of realism. While LEGO’s version is articulated, the builder chose to portray this large, muscular feline in the middle of a biiiiiiiiig stretch. Unlike your cat, Count Mustard von Smittenstein, this kitty’s claws will do some real damage if they come out. One thing is certain, you’d be happy when that tail went down because, just like on the official set, the builder was…very detailed.
Donald Duck, Disney’s angry but lovable waterfowl, may be a bit in the shadow of Mickey Mouse, but he’s still got plenty of fans, such as LEGO builder Ian Hou. Ian’s latest build is a huge bust of Donald sporting his iconic sailor’s uniform and cap, and it’s a lovely bit of building to get the duck’s shape down so well, even including a slight coloration to Donald’s eyes thanks to some carefully chosen aqua elements.
But turn the bust around and you’ll discover that Donald’s got a secret: a full recording studio for Disney voice actor Clarance Charles “Ducky” Nash, who voiced the duck’s mad rantings. It’s quite a feat to fit such a lovely detailed interior inside Donald’s head without compromising his looks!
This group of life-sized koi fish by Ian Hou of DOGOD Brick Design has awed us before, but we had to return to it for this month’s cover photo. Not only is this model lifelike from looks alone, it also evokes a feeling of zen associated with koi ponds. Looking at Ian’s photography, these look so good on display, like true sculptures. I would love to have these adorn my home to put me at ease when I’m stressing about building. Hopefully, this cover photo will offer the same feeling of calm for our readers. Once you’ve taken in this work of art, check more of Ian’s creations here.
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As the Year of the Ox is approaching next week, Ian Hou (AKA DOGOD Brick Design) blesses us with a new LEGO creation. He wishes us a happy, healthy new year and tells us to be as strong as an ox. And thinking about the positives of having gotten through this past year, let’s look into Ian’s brick cow. All throughout you’ll find excellent part usages and slope shaping. The legs are formed by angled wedge plates and the hooves with 2×2 corner wedges. Ian also uses a 6×6 train roof for the cow’s thigh and a half arch for the subtle shaping of the cow’s neck.
Space Jam was a staple film of any 90s childhood; which kid back in the day wouldn’t have enjoyed the movie? It had everything kids wanted – Michael Jordan, basketball, great music, and of course, the Looney Toons. Ian Hou brings his best 90s game to the world of LEGO bricks in this awesome brick-built Space Jam model.
“Look at our facilities! We’ve got weights! We’ve got hoops! We’ve got balls!” well, Hou’s build doesn’t have any weights, but certainly, there’s a brick-built orange basketball in Bugs Bunny’s hand, and this basketball court fashioned by way of the SNOT (studs not on top) technique features a basketball hoop element from the LEGO sports sets dating from the 2000s. Bugs bunny is also brick-built himself; his build utilizes slopes, tiles, bricks, and some technic elements along with hinge pieces granting his figure some articulation. As a 90s kid, this build brings absolute joy to my heart; seeing a happy and expertly fashioned brick-built bugs bunny shooting hoops in his basketball garb is a very welcome sight.
There’s something just completely tranquil about the sight of koi carp. Location probably has something to do with it because they regularly are featured in serene garden landscapes. Ian Hou does these beautiful fish justice with this new LEGO creation. I can just hear the bubbling water and imagine these graceful koi feeding on fish pellets. The stylistic waves as a stand offer just enough visual cues to make this a truly lovely project. This is a welcome moment of zen to finish out a rather tumultuous year. If this is totally your jam then you should check out some other fish in our archives.
2020 has been a hard year for everyone, and some of us have put on a few extra quarantine pounds. Ian Hou’s LEGO Santa Claus is no exception, as evidenced by the quarter round bricks shaping his belly. It seems that Jolly ole Saint Nick misjudged how many milk and cookies he’d been eating.
Now a previously comfortable slide down a chimney is a bit more than a tight squeeze! I think Santa jumped in pretty fast and built up some speed too because of the angle on those hinged bricks tell me chunks of that chimney are flying off pretty quickly. And I think he’s noticed too, the 1×3 arches forming his mouth look like his “Ho! Ho! Ho!” has turned into an “Oh! Ow! Ow!”
If you ever find yourself wandering through the lush tropical forests of Lanyu Island, off the coast of Taiwan, you may come face to face with a Lanyu Horned Owl. But don’t be frightened! The Lanyu Horned Owl’s piercing yellow eyes and pointed ear tufts are just for show and it’s probably only looking for a nice midnight rodent snack. Our nocturnal friend comes in peace, as we find it calmly perched as Ian Hou’s latest LEGO bird creation. Ian uses a combination of curved sloped bricks for the owl’s wings and staggered wedge plates to render the plumage on its face and backside. Dark tan shell pieces form most of the owl’s chest feathers. The result is a wonderfully realistic build, shaped in all the right ways.
When you think about pandas, what characteristics come to mind? Cute, cuddly, fuzzy, playful, sleepy, chubby? If they could talk, what do think they would say? Seeing as they spend most of their waking hours eating, I’d say it’d involve food. And if a panda was able to operate a phone, he/she would almost certainly order vegetarian takeout ASAP. Ian Hou must feel the same because he built this adorable snacking panda out of LEGO for the world to enjoy. How could you not love that big round belly, sweet face, and adorable bow tie?